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Researchers recommend improvements in supportive care for men with prostate cancer

13 February 2015

There is a need for more timely and accurate information and resources to help men with prostate cancer manage the impacts of treatment side effects to according researchers from the University of Bristol.

In the first qualitative review of its kind, the researchers systematically reviewed journal papers to look at men’s experiences of prostate cancer and their unmet needs during treatment and beyond.

They found that the most valued form of support men experienced following diagnosis was one-to-one peer support and support from partners. The review also highlights the need for improved access to cancer specialist nurses throughout the care pathway, individually tailored supportive care and psychosexual support for the side effects of the treatment.

Anna King, from the university’s Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) is first author of the paper which has been published in the European Journal of Cancer Care. She said: “We found that positive experiences with health professionals were considered to improve health outcomes so seeing the same specialist cancer nurse at key points in men’s disease progression and care pathway is important. We also identified a need for healthcare professionals to acknowledge patients’ uncertainty, and emotional responses in dealing with prostate cancer.”

The research was led by Dr Alyson Huntley from the CAPC. She said: “There is a lack of specific guidance on supportive care for men with prostate cancer and this is the first time the experiences and needs of men with prostate cancer have been reviewed in this way. We hope our research will help clinicians and practitioners to improve the supportive care available to men with prostate cancer.”

The researchers are now looking into the evidence for the effectiveness of supportive care interventions and which aspects of it appear to most helpful. This work will be published later this year.

Further information

Prostate cancer and supportive care: a systematic review and qualitative synthesis of men's experiences and unmet needs
AJ.L.King, M.Evans, T.H.M.Moore, C.Paterson, D.Sharp, R.Persad and A.L.Huntley (2015)
European Journal of Cancer Care

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